Is it bad to have little or no individuality?


Senior Member
I'm not talking about the way I play, because I believe that there are no two drummers/percussionists that perform the exact same. Though still, I might try to copy or mimic some of my favorite drummer’s key moves and maneuvers because I think it’s cool. But what I’m really talking about, is having little to no individuality when picking your set. I basically picked my snare drum, timbales, all my drumheads, and half of my cymbal setup (only composed of a pair of hi-hats and a ride cymbal) based on what the drummer in my favorite band uses. I just can’t think up a set of my own, that would even come close to matching the awesome sound that the drummer in my favorite band found in his set. Maybe this makes me sound “closed minded” or “lacking imagination” but maybe I just am. Does that make me a bad drummer or a bad person for doing that? Is there anyone else out there on this forum who does the same thing?


Platinum Member
You've got to start somewhere. If you find some gear along your journey that you like better, then you might consider buying it. If you never find any gear you consider to be better, then so be it. The gear won't make you a better player, it can only either limit your playing (not being loud enough, not sounding good at quiet levels, not having enough diversity of sounds to be expressive enough for your tastes, etc...) or it can inspire you to play certain ways.

You've got the sound you want--that IS your individuality in gear selection, even if you got inspiration from another player for your setup. If it pleases you, that's all you need.


Platinum Member
"Chasing sounds" is what drives many a musician......drummers and players of other instruments alike. At the end of the day, as long as you get a sound you're happy to make music with, does it really matter if you heard that sound in your own head, on your favourite album or anywhere else for that matter?

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
Hey man, there's a reason the drum biz manufacturing companies want you to know who plays what, where they put stuff and how they use it. I could never live like that.


Platinum Member
In terms of gear, I don't think many of us can claim that much individuality.

In general, it's all made by a handful of the same companies. Outside of perhaps a custom finish, most items most of us own came out of a catalog of some sort or another.

In terms of drum heads, there are only so many head manufactures. 99% of all drums heads come from three main companies.

I wouldn't worry about it.

One should play what sounds good to them for the musical situation at hand..

Living Dead Drummer

Platinum Member
I pick my gear for the gig at hand.
I have a number of Snares, Crashes, Hi Hats & Rides. What goes up on the kit depends on what I need for that gig. My shells are the same. I have a 5 pc "studio" kit (4 toms & kick) and a 9pc "live" (2 sized kicks, 6 Toms & matching snare) kit.

What I use depends on the needs of the gig. So in that respect I think my lack of using the same gear for each job makes my individuality.

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
Actually, I have more to say. In a way, I am contradicting what I just said in my previous post though. I admire and appreciate great drummers, but not so much idolize them and want to look and set-up exactly the same because they are my heroes, but my set-up is inspired by other drummers. I can't think of everything myself.

For instance, my crashes and ride are where they are because that's the way my uncle had his set-up. I copied what he did. I used to put my splash under my right crash. That was individual placement without influence. But I saw that many drummer put it between the left and right crash, right over the toms. So I turned my splash arm 45 degrees or so, lifted it higher, and put my splash there in the middle of everything. I really liked it better right there. Then I saw some other drummers on YouTube (a couple teenagers no less) who had a splash right next to their hi-hats. I thought it was a great idea to have a splash there too because I like what they did with it over there. I recently got an ozone crash and decided to move my splash to its own stand by the hats and put the ozone in the middle where the splash used to be, but I put it above the crashes to keep the main crashes kinda low where I like them.

My drums are a standard 5-piece set-up because that's what my uncle played, and that's what I got used to. I've flattened my drums a little more than his. He had a pretty good angle on his toms. I still keep a little angle because that's what I got used to. I don't like them flat even though that's how Travis Barker plays them (just kidding). Nevertheless, my set-up is influenced by other drummer, my playing is influenced by other drummers and my changes are influenced by other drummers. We like to think change is for the better, but sometimes it just happens out of necessity, for better or worse. Then we find out later that there is a better idea that we never thought of. That's where places like this forum are helpful.

Individuality is developed through hours upon hours of playing and developing. There's no way you can play like 10,000 hours on a kit or two and not develop an individuality. Not in my mind at least. I would say what you are experiencing is not bad at all. It's very common. Just wait 'til you get GAS.
interesting really.

choice of cymbal set i'm going for is pretty much influenced by derek roddy, although i won't have as many lol.

Already had that in mind when i went to buy my first drumkit and the store pretty much figured out what i needed & what the best placement would be. It works great so far with my practise cymbals (xs20's & wuhans). Even though i try to fidget around with it every week to find a better setup i always come back to the one suggested to me.

keep it simple

Platinum Member
I basically picked my snare drum, timbales, all my drumheads, and half of my cymbal setup (only composed of a pair of hi-hats and a ride cymbal) based on what the drummer in my favorite band uses.
There's nothing wrong with that, & it's a great starting point, but always bear in mind that the sounds you hear on band recordings, & also videos from drum manufacturers, are processed such that the drums are typically enhanced way beyond acoustic reality. As you move through your journey, your tastes change, & your experience grows such that you make more informed choices that suit you personally.


Senior Member
I wouldn't sweat it. You have to start somewhere. It's exactly the same with playing. We all try to cop ideas of off our favorite players. Imitation leads to inspiration. Eventually you'll probably change something on the kit a little as you gain more experience. Then you'll change something else. Then you'll copy something from a different drummer. Then you'll get an idea of your own. It's all a process, and the process is the fun part.

Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant
Actually, you're doing exactly what I and many other drummers did. It's a good place to start on your journey.

Also, remember this, we as drummers live in our own little world where we concern ourselves with things like ride cymbal level of wash vs ping and whether or not to tune to specific intervals. The rest of the world hears "Boom, crack, psshhh" whether or not we use Sonors/Zildjian K or PDP with B8's.

Just play and play more and keep playing and your ears will naturally develop to the point where you will be able to tell "good" from "bad".

Good luck.


I also agree with using our favorite artists as starting points for gear. I have. There isn't always the option to go into a music store and try out various brands of drums. Even there, the sound is what it is and probably not representative of how you'll end up tuning and setting up.

I read interviews, reviews, look at pictures and watch videos. What I'm looking for is what does the person like about the gear. What do I like about it. Then I can at least narrow it down from there. I wouldn't say I blindly buy Tama just because I want to sound like Bruford, but researching reviews, interviews and forums helps me zero in on what I want out of a kit (or cymbal). Then I do my best to go and try those out.

Then again, there are times I walk into a local shop and see a killer deal and jump on it regardless of what my favorite artists are playing.

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
Well if you don't know what you like you need a point of reference.

My first cymbals were bright, brilliant, pingy and heavier weights. Playing those for years I realized I wanted the opposite.

And if you read this forum we are all pretty particular about what we want but there are thousands of drummers out there who almost don't care how their cymbals sound, they just go by brand or whatever. You don't have to be fussy like us.

The SunDog

A lot us have been guilty of the same thing. In the late 80's I got into a Bonham phase and one up two down became my thing. I've played some variation ever since. Lefties who set their kit up right handed are copying someone. Traditional grip? You would never just grab the sticks and hold them like a fork. You have to see somebody do it first. With that rare exception, the "first guy ever to.........".


Platinum Member
Focus on finding your individuality as a musician, don't worry about your gear. Your playing is the thing. Nobody cares what you play or how you set it up; they care about how you sound.


"Uncle Larry"
I don't think you could escape your own individuality if you tried. For better or for worse, there is no one who is exactly like you.


Silver Member
Look at the cymbal setup on my bigger kit, and that will tell you a bit about where I stand on that. Now, the next time I go on a cymbal buying kick, that will change, since ten years or more playing that setup has directed me towards what works and what doesn't, and I have some new ideas about what to replace the current setup with.

I say play what you enjoy, and the more you do, the more likely it is that you'll find the changes if and when they are needed.


Junior Member
I don't think you could escape your own individuality if you tried. For better or for worse, there is no one who is exactly like you.
True enough, though there are an awful lot of wannable clones of famous/influential players out there.